The Home Office has announced that it will ban a drug which has become popular on the gay club curcuit.

Gamma butyrlactone (GBL) will become a class C drug, carrying a prison term of up to two years for possession.

Dealing will carry a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Last year the drug was implicated in the death of a gay man in Vauxhall.

David Bartlett died after a drink and drugs binge.

Mixed with alcohol or taken in too high a dosage it can kill within minutes.

Mr Bartlett had taken so much GBL that scientists were not able to use normal standards to measure his blood toxicity.

Unlike gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which is illegal, GBL is currently legal and turns into GHB once in the blood stream.

Both drugs are increasingly used in the gay club scene but while GHB is sold by drug dealers, GBL is found in products such as nail varnish remover.

According to Tictac drugs database, more than half suspected GHB samples seized in clubs now contain GBL.

The Home Office said it will move to ban GBL and BZP, also known as herbal ecstasy, by the end of the year.

A cannabis substitute known as “spice” will also be outlawed.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he was acting after taking advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

“Legal highs are an emerging threat, particularly to young people, and we have a duty to educate them about the dangers,” he said.

“There is a perception that many of the so-called legal highs are harmless, however in some cases people can be ingesting dangerous industrial fluids or smoking chemicals that can be even more harmful than cannabis.”